The nation of sports is still, for the most part, shut down but is starting to show signs of recovery. There’s a lot of money to be made (or lost) so the major leagues are not just going to sit idly by. It will be different than what we’re used to but, at this point, any games are good games.
New Orleans Saints
The national football pundits are still chirping about the NFL Draft because what in the heck else are they going to talk about, right? Locally, I find myself digging the New Orleans Saints first round pick of Cesar Ruiz more and more. The Saints Twitterverse blew up the night of the pick. They couldn’t believe that the Saints would take a center with their first round pick a year after taking a center (Erik McCoy) with their first round pick. It definitely looked weird but Sean Payton has never been one to be conventional.
One of these two will line up at center and the other at guard in what will be a young but supremely talented middle of the line. McCoy came in last year and immediately (amazingly) locked down the crucial center position as a rookie so who is to say that Ruiz can’t do the same?
If you need another reason to believe just look at the Saints recent picks along the offensive and defensive line. The ever-controversial Andrus Peat, Sheldon Rankins, David Onyemata and Ryan Ramczyk (another pick that fans crowed about) and Marcus Davenport have all logged major minutes in the trenches. The Saints just have a knack for picking players along the line. Have faith my friends. Another big body to protect Drew Brees and open up some running lanes is always a good thing.
NFL at large (literally)
Speaking of the NFL at large it is becoming evident that these guys might need to get back onto the field. Even though one can’t judge an entire organization by four employees’ actions the NFL has to be ill at ease with the recent spate of arrests. It’s reminiscent of those years where it seemed like every Monday was greeted with news of the arrests of Cincinnati Bengals.
The Buffalo Bills’ defensive lineman Ed Oliver was arrested for DWI, which seems positively quaint compared to the weekend’s other arrests. The Washington Redskins Cody Latimer was arrested for assault in the second degree among other ugly things. In a mind blowing story, the Seattle Seahawks Quinton Dunbar and New York football Giants Deandre Baker had themselves a wild time by brandishing firearms and robbing a party of more than $60,000 of property. How does one rob somebody while social distancing? I don’t care to find out.
Louisiana Horse Racing coming back
Horse tracks around the state are rumbling back to life as the horse racing commission has given the proverbial thumbs up for tracks to reopen. Evangeline Downs in Opelousas and Delta Downs in Vinton are welcoming back horse and trainers. Delta Down has applied for racing dates from June to August, running Wednesdays through Saturdays. Delta Downs will have quarter horse racing beginning on June 1.
As with most sporting events they won’t have any live crowds at the tracks which has to put a major dent in the betting pools. One has to assume that the tracks believe they can pull in enough gamblers online to make it worth their while. We shall see.
The Fairgrounds will remain closed having thankfully ran most of their live programming before the shut down.
Pro baseball news
Major league baseball is trying to return as well. The league has submitted a 67-page document to the players’ association detailing their new safety protocols in a step towards getting the major league baseball season started.
There will be a ton of negotiation between the league and players as everyone deals with the unexpected, a major sticking point being cash money. The players have agreed to prorated salaries but owners will still be looking for more concessions on that front without any crowds in the stadium. No crowds equals no beer and hot dog sales.
If you really need to get your fix of pro baseball make sure to check out ESPN’s ongoing coverage of the Korean Baseball league. The NC Dinos, yes, you read that right, have roared out of the gates winning 10 of their first 11 games. The Dinos have swept the Wiz, Wyverns and Lions, which is fun to say.
The only question that remains to be answered is: Which team’s hat am I going to buy? Even though they evidently aren’t that good it will be hard to pass on the SK Wyverns (1-10). They have the coolest name in the league. I guess my second pick would be the Kiwoom Heroes.
There are wild days ahead of us my friends. As New Orleans and the nation at large tries to reopen there will be a lot of pressure to “get back to normal.” I’m all for it and I hope we make it through with the greatest of ease but I’m an optimistic sort. No matter what, whatever you do, however you feel, just go with your gut and use every precaution you can to stay healthy and to protect your loved ones and neighbors.
And like a fine wine with a steak dinner, every game should be accompanied by a beverage and song.
Beer Pairing: All Relation Brewery’s Peaked Sports IPA
Playlist Recommendation: Jimmy Buffett – “Cheeseburger In Paradise”
Around the Way
It’s important to get out and support your local businesses! Check out this list (https://www.myneworleans.com/coronavirus-restaurants-offering-free-delivery-curbside-pickup-and-more/) of which restaurants and businesses have opened back up. My playlist recommendation is in honor of those delicious cheeseburgers at Company Burger. They’re better than ever, folks.